NewtownAustralia Sunrise Lodge
Hotels & Accommodation
Newtown LocalBusiness Index
2.1 Early years
2.2 Early 20th century
2.4 1980s and later
3 Population statistics
6 Local events
6.1 Live music
6.2 Newtown Festival
6.3 Newtown Jets
7 External links
Newtown Bed and Breakfast
Newtown Hotels & Accommodation
Newtown postcode 2042 is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia.
1980s and later
During the 1980s the many pubs in the area housed a thriving live music scene, notably the Sandringham Hotel in King St. One of the best-known Australian bands to emerge from this scene was The Whitlams, who held down a formative residency at "The Sando" for several years.
Musician John Kennedy wrote a tribute to the area in the mid-1980s and his single "On King St I'm A King" namechecked familiar Newtown landmarks and local figures of the time, including "The Wire Man" (a local eccentric who collected wire and wire coathangers), Maurice's Lebanese restaurant, and the Coles' New World store (which occupied the site of the current Dendy Cinema).
During the 1990s many long-established businesses closed, including Brennan's Department Store, a charming old-fashioned general store founded in the 1800s, and one of the last relics of the heyday of Victorian Newtown.
The rise in property prices and rents has also led to an increasing rate of turnover in local businesses due to spiralling annual rent increases. In the case of popular local Italian restaurant Camo's, the business operated very successfully for several years until the landlord abruptly raised the rent by 110 percent, making the business unviable overnight.
Other significant changes to the area include the recent redevelopment of the grain silo and flour mill complex located on the site of the original Newtown station, just west of the present station. Rather than demolishing the silos and building a new structure, the developers undertook a major reconstruction of the building and created a series of circular apartment spaces, augmented by the construction of more traditional apartments on the lower levels.
One of the most notable (and once perhaps infamous) local landmarks is the Hub Theatre, located opposite Newtown Station, next to the old Newtown Town Hall. It was rebuilt in the 1930s as a cinema, on the site of an earlier vaudeville theatre, but from the early 1970s onwards, with the relaxation of Australia's repressive censorship laws, it was used to screen pornographic films and for the staging of live "adult" sex shows, including the long-running and now legendary "Little French Maid". The Hub closed as a 'porno' venue in the late 1980s and has been vacant ever since; the owners of the Dendy chain attempted to secure the venue for its Newtown cinema, but were unsuccessful.
In the 1990s, Newtown High School was chosen by the NSW Department of Education and Training as the site for a new specialised performing arts high school, which would combine traditional academic subjects with music and theatrical performance education. A significant proportion of the student body is now recruited through a selective and highly competitive audition process, although local families (at present) retain the right to send their children there.
In its new guise the school has been very successful, although there is concern among local parents that there is increasing pressure from non-resident families to make the school 100% selective, thus forcing local parents to send their children to other neighbouring high schools if their children cannot pass the rigorous audition process.
In the early 1990s, the northern end of King St was significantly improved thanks to the "Wires Away" project, a collaboration between Sydney City Council (which then administered that section of Newtown), telecommunications provider Telstra and Energy Australia (the privatised incarnation of the former NSW Electricity Commission). In this innovative public works program, almost all the overhead electrical and telecommunications wiring, which for decades had criss-crossed upper King St street and cluttered the streetscape, was rationalised and gathered into bundles which were run out of sight along the tops of shop awnings.
Also in the 1990s, following the demolition of many smaller city-centre theatres and music venues, the Enmore Theatre in Enmore Rd evolved into one of the busiest and most popular medium-sized concert venues in Sydney. The Enmore Theatre now presents rock, pop and multicultural concerts on a regular basis, and many local and international acts have performed there over the last decade. In 2003 it was the venue for the first concert in the Rolling Stones Australian tour.
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